When you take a class on Entrepreneurship at a university, there is typically no discussion for how your personal values and goals fit into the entrepreneurial process. Being an entrepreneur is very challenging – both physically and emotionally. It may involve working 12+ hours a day, seven days a week. It may require you to cut back on your social activities. It may give you less time with your spouse and kids. It may require you to max out your credit cards, take a loan on your house, or borrow money from family/friends. All of this is only worth it if you are truly passionate about what you are doing. And if the venture is not consistent with your personal goals and values, it is very difficult to generate that passion.
Recently, I had an entrepreneur come speak to my students who illustrated this lesson very clearly. Candace is the founder of Sandy Candy Swim (http://sandycandyswim.com/), a firm that sells high-quality swimwear for women. She combined her love for fashion and swimwear to create Sandy Candy Swim. On a shoe-string budget, she was able to put together a professional website and design her swimwear. After securing a turnkey supplier and placing an initial order, she is now focused on marketing and selling her merchandise.
Despite not having a retail store, the marketing strategies that have been the most effective for her are ones that allow her to interact directly with her customers. For example, she helps put together her own take on a Pampered Chef or Tupperware party. The host will invite people over and Candace will come to the house with Sandy Candy swimwear and accessories. The guests will get to see, feel and try on the swimwear while getting a personal swimwear consultation from Candace. The reason that this has been so successful for her is because she truly enjoys spending time with women to help them find swimwear and accessories that they like wearing. The passion she has for this business comes through even when she speaks to others about what she does, so I can only imagine how easily it is conveyed when she is in the middle of a consultation.
While Candace is very passionate about swimwear, she also makes sure that the business is consistent with her values and goals. She is a part-time entrepreneur. She started Sandy Candy Swim to explore her creative and artistic talents. Although she could grow the business a lot faster if she quit her day job, she has no desire to do so. She loves her full-time job too. Juggling the two can be very difficult, especially because her full-time job involves a fair amount of travel. But by setting realistic expectations for the growth of Sandy Candy Swim, she is able to maintain a balance. In other words, having a full-time job she loves and working on Sandy Candy Swim is consistent with her values and goals. Moreover, she always keeps these goals and values in mind when making decisions about her business. As a result, she is able to make sure she is enjoying every minute of being an entrepreneur.
Dr. Atul Teckchandani
CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor